Can you recycle your old lamps?

How to Get Rid of It
It may be the gift you never wanted but you can still make use of it.
It may be the gift you never wanted but you can still make use of it.
Jeffrey Hamilton/Getty Images/Lifesize/Thinkstock

If you want that lamp out of your life, donation poses a great choice. Local theater groups, even high school drama departments, love to use old lamps as props. You'll be keeping it out of a landfill and supporting the arts in your community at the same time. There may even be a nearby technical school with an electrical program -- old lamps are excellent objects for students to use as practice. If you think the lamp might have some monetary value and you'd like to profit from its vintage look, try listing it in an online auction or free Internet listing. In addition, you can do it the old-fashioned way and put it in a yard sale.

Recycling lamps can be tricky. Actually using a recycling facility for your old lamp will depend on what it's made out of and what your local center is capable of handling. While most waste management facilities accept light bulbs, ceramic lamp bases are very difficult to recycle. Your local recycling group can better handle glass bases. Ceramic, even though it begins as an eco-friendly clay, is fired and glazed, making it hard to break down and reuse. Some pottery studios or smelting facilities can recycle ceramic, but it's rare. Glass bases are a bit easier to recycle, since they're made of a substance that most facilities are used to handling. Many recycling centers will only take glass lamps that have had the wiring stripped out first and then they'll still need to be sorted by color.

Yes, there are numerous ways to reuse, repurpose and recycle old lamps. Depending on your time, resources and interests, there are a lot of green options for dealing with this cumbersome piece of décor. If you're creative, consider how you can repurpose a lamp for a few more years of life. If you're feeling generous, look into local donation options. If you think you'd like to make some cash from a vintage lamp that doesn't suit you personally, sell it using an online site or yard sale. Finally, if you really just want to recycle your lamp the traditional way, contact your local waste facility and find out what your options are.

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  • Blydenburgh, Stephanie. "Make it Mosaic: How to Tile a Tabletop." (April 27, 2011).
  • Davies, Anna. "How to Paint Ceramic Tile." (April 27, 2011).
  • Debransky, Megan. "Why Glass Comes in Different Colors." Earth (April 27, 2011).
  • Earth "Recycling." (April 27, 2011).
  • Editors of Publications International, Ltd. "How to Rewire a Lamp in 9 Steps." (April 27, 2011).
  • "List of Retailers that recycle." (April 27, 2011).
  •"Mercury Lamps." (April 27, 2011).
  • House and"Decorating Lamp Shades." (April 27, 2011).

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